January 27, 2013 Michael Bickerton
Those that follow my blog know that I come from a family of printers. My Grandfather started Bickerton Multigraphing back in the 1920’s on Sheppard Street between Adelaide & King Streets in Toronto (currently the location of First Canadian Place). My father owned a printing company in Toronto, and I spent the better part of my life in the printing industry. I certainly have ink in my viens.
Communication has changed and it doesn’t matter where you look. There’s been a constant evolution and constant change, multigraph, lithograph, web printing, digital printing, teletypes, fax machines, scanners, email, pdfs and now social.
Facts are facts; print is down and will continue to decline, post office and mailing services and prices continue to decline as well. What’s notable is the fact is that paper, print and mailing services are at their highest quality levels ever, while prices continue to decline at a rapid pace.
This evolution forced me to make changes in a career path, I’m not complaining, it’s been a lot of work but enjoyable. Learning about Google, email marketing, social media and digital ad delivery has been challenging, but very rewarding. Actually, it’s been nice to learn something so new and relevant.
You know I love the doubters, and there are just so many. They are like the Republicans in the United States, hoping that evolution and change will cease. Expecting suddenly to get to back to the 1950’s not recognizing the even the population has changed. Don’t quote me, but I believe I heard recently that the whites are now minority in California. The point, things change, people change and processes change. Simple fact of life.
I have bad news for the lumber, pulp, paper, print, finishing, mailing, and trucking industries, things are NOT going backward. I’ve written before that the wagon wheel was a big seller once, as was print. I anticipate it continue to decline and eventually become an economic non-factor.
So, now one of our paper industry representatives, “Paul Megaffin” from Ariva emailed me (didn’t mail it, ironic eh?) a 2-page document titled “Social Media’s Massive Failure”. You can download it yourself, but I wouldn’t bother. The basis of the paper talks about “Pepsi-Colas” strong push into Social Media and the “Pepsi Refresh Project”.
Megaffin, then goes on to tell us about these disastrous results talking about a 5% loss of market share and some other erroneous information. His main point is that “The only thing it failed to do was sell Pepsi”. Those of this in this business understand completely that we are in an evolutionary stage of digital communication and digital media, but I caution those that think the world is flat, don’t be fooled, these changes are here to stay.
The program was in fact shelved for a multitude of reasons, but social media wasn’t the issue. Some Professors weigh in here on the Adage Blog. If the program was unsucessful, it has NOTHING to do with social media, and certainly nothing in print world would have improved the results.
Interestingly enough, there is no discussion on the overall spending of Pepsi (in the $1.7 Billion range) or of Coke (in the $2.8 Billion range). As well, ignored in this evaluation is the fact that Pepsi LIKES are in the 10 million range, while Coke has over 57 million LIKES. Coke Zero has 3.4 million Likes. Missing from this discussion as well are overall sales figures in the soft drink category. In this case Pepsi approx. $12 Billion while Coke towers with over $28 Billion. Noteworthy as well is the lack of information regarding the social media spend by Coke.
I’m not convinced that Pepsi’s foray into the social media sphere at this (the Pepsi Refresh Project) level proves anything. Just as Magellan found that the world is not flat. Nor do I expect paper or print sales to increase based on this arbitrary evaluation of “Failure”. It’s this bloggers position that Social Media is the future of marketing, at least one segment, and print and conventional media will continue to decline.
It’s a new world out there, much like Magellan there are plenty of dangers in the new world. Irrespective, most will continue down the digital path even if, as Megaffin suggests, “Only zealots and fools will continue to bow down to the gods of social media”.
I’m available as mjbickerton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slide share, YouTube and Google+, drop me a line there.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, Toronto, January 2013